ATLANTA (March 9) – Justin Riley’s RBI double in the eighth inning broke a 7-7 tie and lifted NC State (8-7, 1-0 ACC) to a 9-7 victory over top-ranked Georgia Tech (12-4, 0-1) on March 9 in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams.
With the score knotted at 7-7, the Wolfpack’s Jamey Shearin delivered a one-out single between shortstop and third base. After advancing to second base on a wild pitch, Shearin came around to give NC State an 8-7 lead on Riley’s double. Riley, who homered in the second inning, finished the day 2-for-4 with two RBI.
Georgia Tech had a chance to tie the score in the bottom of the inning when the Yellow Jackets had runners on second and third with one out. But NC State made the second out of the inning when Victor Menocal grounded a ball to third base and the Wolfpack’s Sean Walsh went home to put out Brian Jackson. Richard Lewis grounded out to end the threat.
The Wolfpack added an insurance run in the top of the ninth when Brian Wright reached on a double after Tech left fielder Matthew Boggs lost the ball in the dusk sky. Wright then stole third base and scored when Tech catcher Jason Basil’s throw sailed into left field.
Josh Miller (1-1) picked up the win in relief for NC State, tossing 2.1 scoreless innings to close out the game. Tech reliever Andy Mitchell (1-1) was saddled with the loss after allowing one run in 1.2 innings of work. Neither starting pitcher figured in the decision as the Wolfpack’s Ryan Combs allowed five runs in 5.1 inning and the Yellow Jackets’ Steve Kelly surrendered six runs in six innings.
NC State took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on a two-run double from David Hicks. After Riley’s home run made the score 3-0, the Yellow Jackets took a 5-3 lead with one run in the fourth inning and four more runs in the fifth. Tech’s Bryan Prince delivered a RBI single in the fourth before Basil lined into a triple play to end the inning. In the fifth, Wes Rynders drove in a run with a bases loaded groundout before Matthew Boggs added a RBI single and Lewis belted a two-run double.
NC State immediately answered with three runs in the top of the sixth on a two-out, three run homer from Joe Gaetti to make the score 6-5. A RBI single from Wright made the score 7-5 in the top of the seventh before Basil tied the score at 7-7 with a two-run double in the bottom of the inning.
Walsh led the Wolfpack with three hits in five at bats, while Wright, Riley and Jeremy Dutton added two hits each. Lewis and Basil each had three hits for the Yellow Jackets.
Georgia Tech and NC State will continue the three-game weekend series on Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. each day.